Nazareth weekend with Little Brother Marc

The Nazareth of Jesus: when God humanises himself

People sometimes say to us, “But the Gospel says nothing – or almost nothing – about the years Jesus spent at Nazareth. So how can you take Nazareth as a reference for life?” It is true that the Gospels are more than discreet, but the little they say is very significant and has not been included by chance. That is an additional reason to look at it closely. Let us note the few elements that are given to us:

A – The Old Testament never mentions Nazareth, when so many towns and villages are named… Nazareth and Galilee therefore are deeply despised as places that are without significance in the history of salvation:Nathaniel asks:

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?(John 1:46);”
“Go into the matter and see for yourself: prophets do not arise in Galilee.(John 7:52)”
the Pharisees say to Nicodemus, who defends Jesus.

For the religious groups, the circles of power, the doctors and the educated, Jesus is a man from below and from the margin. Certainly they do not have a better opinion of him than of those who follow him:

“This rabble knows nothing about the law, they are damned!(John 7:49)”
– the TOB translates it as “This mass... ”). He is exposed without special protection, a simple pawn on the political chessboard in the eyes of the notables
(“You do not seem to have grasp the situation at all; you fail to see that it is to your advantage that one man should die for the people than that the whole nation should perish!” John 11:50),
he takes on, right to the end, the situation as a man from the ordinary people and this leads him to death. The Gospel clearly indicates that here there is a revelation of the face of God and of his way of doing things:
“Do you think that I cannot appeal to my Father who would promptly send more than twelve legions of angels to my defence? But then how would the Scriptures be fulfilled that say this is the way it must be?” (Matthew 26:53ff; cf.John 11:51f).

So it is then very moving to think that everything that Jesus said to us, about God, about people, about relations between God and people, was thought out and felt by someone from this great “mass”, this ordinary crowd, scorned and suspected by the experts and the great. His words are the words of a “little one”, of someone who has integrated into his personality the scorn that others have for his own people. I find that we do not marvel at this enough! It should make us read his words, about the merciful Father or the Samaritan for instance, with different eyes... A mysterious attitude of God who takes on, not humanity in general, but this precise humanity, doubtless because he judged it better able to express correctly who God is and what God wants!

“Can anything good come out of Nazareth?”